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Old 12-16-2011, 05:17 AM
 
Location: NoVA
160 posts, read 236,637 times
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I lived in NC my whole life, and Raleigh for college and Grad school, and loved it. Moved up to DC for career opportunity, fully expecting to return back, but 5 years later, we bought a house here and so we're staying . I do miss the area. The cheaper COL, slower pace, and proximity to great beaches was nice. I like the diversity and jobs in NOVA, though.

I have family and friends in the Raleigh/Cary area. I'm actually surprised at the previous posters here who are warning of the schools. I'm sure there are some bad apples, but in general the Wake County school system is highly regarded (but beware of the frequent redistricting due to growth), as is the Orange County/Chapel Hill system.

That said, there are many great private schools and they are much cheaper down there for the most part.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:49 AM
 
Location: VA soon to be NC
1,111 posts, read 2,053,393 times
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It is tough to compare the school system of FFX county to anywhere else so it is all relative.
From my understanding the Chapel Hill area is very nice . That area is growing fast so you would need to be prepared for that.
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Old 12-16-2011, 04:59 PM
 
Location: northern Virginia
204 posts, read 592,072 times
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I have family that moved to the Raleigh area 5 years ago, and both the husband and wife have had trouble with employment. Both are college-educated, experienced professionals in their 40s, but the job market there just isn't great. The public schools (in Fuquay-Varina) have been good for their kids though.
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,573 posts, read 12,671,394 times
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We're settling on a house in Chapel Hill next week! So I haven't lived there yet, but we knew a move was in the works for over a year, so I have visited the area many times and have read a lot about it on C-D.

From what I can gather based on reading and visiting only:

1. cost of living is less (although Chapel Hill is pretty darn expensive), although it seems like that's mostly for housing. I've noticed that taxes are higher (sales tax, personal property tax, CH real estate tax, not sure on income); our insurance is higher (both car and home), and utilites (at least water and cable) seems to be higher. But, overall, since housing is the most expensive item in ones budget, the cost of living is lower overall.

2. There is less traffic - no comparison.

3. The job market is not as strong there, overall - that is just an impression I get from reading the boards.

4. Transient population in the main areas of Durham, Cary, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill like here, but the surrounding areas seem pretty "southern" and much more rural than here. That is, I can drive out of Chapel Hill's downtown center and be on a farm within 5 minutes. And I can see neighborhoods with rusted trailers on cinderblocks pretty quickly, too. ;-)

5. The Wake County School system's redistricting mess makes Fairfax County's boundary changes seem set in stone. The whole county has gone through an overhaul in the last few months/years. Look under the Raleigh forum and search for the thread on it which will give you some keen insight. They also have a bit more freedom it seems to pick your schools. You can do year-round or traditional. Overall, the test scores are not as good as Fairfax. The Chapel Hill-Carborro School district is very highly regarded and is fairly small (10 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 3 high schools). Test scores are similar to the "top" schools in Fairfax County - Langley/McLean/Woodson/Madison.

6. Weather is slightly warmer there - usually about 5 degrees but can be as high as 12 degrees warmer, which makes for slightly milder winters but hotter summers.

7. Pace of life seems slower and more southern and less northeastern/big city, but with all the northeasterners moving down there, that could probably change.

Those are my impressions. We're moving down there next month, so I will let you know the reality after I move!
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Maine
2,014 posts, read 2,709,696 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
We're settling on a house in Chapel Hill next week!

We're moving down there next month, so I will let you know the reality after I move!
Congratulations, michgc! What a great way to start the new year! North Carolina is a beautiful state.
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:09 AM
 
Location: D.C.
2,227 posts, read 1,855,067 times
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We are from NC. We'd go back in a heartbeat if we could find the financial platform (and security of such).

We lived in Apex (western burb of Raleigh, behind Cary). My job was in Chapel Hill. In late 2008, my director decided to retire. Corporate decided to merge our east coast territory with the midwest office in Chicago. Facing 2009, with a stay-at-home wife and a 9 month old baby boy, we did what we had to do, and agreed to the move. We hated every single minute of Chicago, except for the birth of our daughter in November of 2010. We missed NC so badly, that we regularly did the 930 mile drives (one way) to get back. 18 hours+, each way.

I'm in the financial world, commercial real estate lending to be specific. I knew NC was probably lost for me for several more years due to the economy and what conitnues to happen in Charlotte with the banks. DC was my only option to get us back to the mid-atlantic, cut our distance from 930 mlies and 18 hours, to 230 miles and 4 hours. We arrived in late October of this year to right outside of Brambleton (we were unpacking as it was snowing here, talk about ironic).

We simply love it here! LOVE IT! But, that's against the context of Chicago (or, as I spell it, ChiTcago).

The differences between NC and NoVa:
(1) Cost of living - daily costs, not housing. Housing in the burb's of VA are a bit more expensive, but not as much as I would've thought. Our house here, at 4,100 square feet, new construction, fully finished with many upgrades, was in the high $500k's. Not cheap, but not too far out of line of what you'll find down there either, maybe $50K difference, depending on where you buy. Which brings up another topic:

If you go to Raleigh, I strongly suggest the Apex area for property valuation protection. Northern Raleigh has transistioned a bit over the past 8 years, and not in an entirely good way. Durham is the "rough" patch of the triangle. With development occuring in Durham these days, some of that "rough patch" element has relocated over to northern Raleigh. Additionally, northern Raleigh is the "old" burbs, and it shows in some ways. Cary is newish, and Apex is the newest. To give you an idea:

We bought our house in Apex in 2006 at the height of the market. We sold it in January of 2009, for full asking price, within 48 hours. We actually made money on a piece of residential real estate. So much so, I got audited that year for it!

Schools in Apex are the newest, and strongest in the area.

Apex gives you Chapel Hill access via a 20 minute drive through horse farms and Jordan Lake, (a drive I miss badly).

Housing prices are in the $125-$145 per square foot range. Newest builds, nice area.

Lifestyle: If you're use to being on the "go", then you'll need to anticipate some adjustment. Not a boring town, but not nearly as exciting as this area. It's a smaller town in size, and in feel. Entertainment options aren't plentiful, like here. But, not living in the "sticks" either. Just different, and more intimate.

We love NC, and will return when the time comes. Best thing about NC for me (38 years old), is I've already seen where I want to retire. When my career crosses the finish line in 30 years, you'll find us along the ICW of coastal Carolina!

Last edited by NC211; 12-18-2011 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:01 AM
 
2,915 posts, read 3,319,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairfax Mom View Post
We almost move to the Triangle area and I liked it much better than NOVA - a lot more trees - BUT - the traffic is still bad there.
Traffic in the Triangle is almost non existent. Leaving RTP at rush hour might delay you commute by 5-10 minutes.
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Old 12-19-2011, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,449 posts, read 2,808,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theS5 View Post
Traffic in the Triangle is almost non existent. Leaving RTP at rush hour might delay you commute by 5-10 minutes.
It depends where you are and where you are headed. I have a friend who lives in Wake Forest (north of the city) and they do have traffic issues. Same as our area (or any rapidly growing area) when there is too much construction and not enough decent infrastructure in place.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:57 PM
 
Location: D.C.
2,227 posts, read 1,855,067 times
Reputation: 3491
This is true. The Wakefield area north of town is tough, and not a lot of back road choices to it, that's why I like west of the city in Cary and Apex.
Plus, the water supply situation. Western area pulls from Jordan lake, which doesn't run dry as fast as Falls lake does north of the city.
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